Temple University men’s basketball verbal commit Hysier Miller felt a connection when talking with the Owls’ coaching staff that he didn’t feel with the other schools recruiting him, he said.
Seventeen-year-old Miller plays guard at Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School in South Philadelphia. He verbally committed on Aug. 7 to play basketball at Temple during the 2021-22 season.
Miller had offers from Penn State University, Drexel University and East Carolina University. Once he met head basketball coach Aaron McKie, he knew Temple was where he belonged, he said.
“[Miller] and McKie have a lot in common, they are similar people and similar players,” said Neumann head basketball coach Carl Arrigale. “I think that’s where the connection came.”
Miller grew up in South Philadelphia and started playing basketball around the neighborhood at six years old with his older brother Mark Miller.
Mark Miller also grew up around basketball, and Hysier Miller said he always kept him out of trouble and reminded him to stay focused.
Once Hysier entered the sixth grade, he joined the Amateur Athletic Union, he said.
“The place where I come from, I was lucky enough to get AAU and meet some people who knew athletes who could help me elevate my game, a lot of people don’t get that kind of opportunity,” Hysier Miller added. “I knew I couldn’t take it for granted.”
The AAU trains, competes and physically develops athletes to prepare them for the next level in their career. Shizz Alston Jr. and Trey Lowe are two former Temple men’s basketball players who played for the AAU, said head AAU coach Aaron Burt.
Before Hysier attended Neumann he went to Martin Luther King High School, Arrigale said.
Last year, Hysier spent his junior year at Neumann, where he helped the Neumann family bring home a 66-58 win for the basketball championship against Roman Catholic.
With about seven minutes left in the championship game, Hysier grabbed a rebound, pushed the ball up the floor and drove into the lane, allowing Neumann to gain possession and setting his teammate up for a perfect shot, PA Prep Live reported.
“He was one of the main players who helped us win the championship last year and he finished the season as leading scorer,” Arrigale said. “Seeing the smile on his face and to see how happy he was to be there, it shows how much joy the game brings him.”
Hysier wants to win, but he cares about team achievements rather than his own personal achievements, Arrigale added.
“I want to improve my leadership skills,” Hysier said. “I really want to help the team be better. Picking someone up when they are down and setting an example for the team to always play hard. That’s a true leader, not how many points you score in a game.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has put an end to the AAU season, there hasn’t been a final decision on his senior year basketball season at Neumann.
When Hysier comes to Temple, he will force other players to raise their competitive level, Arrigale said.
“What separates Hysier from everyone else is his toughness, he wants it so much more than everybody else that’s out there,” Arrigale added.